The narrow streets were dark, the air cold and still. No one was about. That was good, at least for a day like this. She trudged on, holding the bag firmly at her side.
She had only walked a few hundred steps when something stirred in the darkness behind her. Jane paused. She was sure she heard a noise, a hissing sound. Her heart pounded with fear, sweat trickled down her neck.
She took a step further, clutching the bag tightly. She heard it again, her hairs stood on end.
“Breathe, just breathe’ she muttered to herself, her chest heaving.
She stepped over a puddle and missed, her feet landed on the edge splattering rainwater on her long gown.
Her mind still raced. She swung round suddenly, hoping to catch the offending thing. She could feel some movement. She squinted into the darkness, seeing nothing. She remembered the torch. She hadn’t wanted to use it.
She flipped it on and gasped. Nothing. She turned back swiftly and continued on her way, her heart in her throat.
She knocked on the first door. Three knocks in quick succession. The door opened slightly and she slid her package into a waiting hand. No words needed.
She walked on, her steps light. Thanks to the soft shoes she wore.
She delivered two more packages. She felt happy.
Then she turned a corner and was almost engulfed by darkness. She puffed and struggled for breath, there seemed to be a compelling presence in the darkness that threatened to overwhelm her. She flipped on the torch looking around her, the beam of light darting here and there.
“What do you think you’re doing?” a voice hissed out of the darkness ending in a loud boom. “Put that thing away!”
“No, I will not”, Jane said, tears pooling in her eyes. “Why do you hide in the dark? Show yourself!”
She doubted if she really wanted to come face to face with whatever lay in this thick cloak of darkness.
She felt the darkness wrapping around her, around her neck, covering her eyes, holding down her feet. She stumbled. Confused, she lay in a heap on the ground wondering what was happening. She choked as the houses seem to close up on her.
She felt it being taken, slowly been dragged away.
“The Bibles, no! Many await their copy”
She grabbed the bag and held it tight, her eyes unseeing.
Suddenly, she heard voices in the distance, hundreds of people coming down the street. They had torches of all kinds; they moved closer still, filling her world with light.
She got on her feet, slowly regaining her composure. She looked up to see their faces.
They all looked tired, their clothes old and worn out. There were women and children, men with raggedy faces filled with confusion and misery.
She felt compassion for them.
“Hi” she waved, nodding at this and then that one. They looked on unsure of what to do.
“Where are you all from?”
“Around” said a man who was obviously English.
It was then she noticed these people all looked different. There were some Asian children, carried on the shoulders of Zulu women. An old woman, probably a Ghanaian, wore an attire made of Kente. A man, a Texan Probably, wore cowboy boots and a hat, he held on to a Jamaican woman. She could be his wife.
They were all different.
“I …..I have something to show you” Jane said, hesitantly.
They looked on eagerly. She brought out the bibles and passed them round. There were not enough.
She panicked. “I thought I had enough”
“Don’t matter, we’ll share” a woman said.
“No, I have enough; I just need to get home. Wait for me please” she said backing away from them, a finger in the air, “All of you, please, wait”
She turned and raced back the way she came. She reached her door and knocked loudly. She heard footsteps; a woman opened the door and shone a torch in her face.
She came closer, put her left hand on Jane’s shoulder and shook her gently……..
“Wake up Jane, its 5 am. We must pray”
Jane looked up into her sister’s face, the light bulb on the wall behind her shone brightly. She shielded her eyes from the harshness and sat up.
“Noka” she called softly.
She gave her sister a tiny smile.
“Now, I know what I must do”
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